Thursday, 21 June 2012

Barnstaple

Sticking to my guns and avoiding the Top Barn venue, I was going to miss Golden Valley and have a weekend off last week, however a couple of days before the closing date I decided to enter Barnstaple, knowing it wasn't far from me and I'd feel I was missing out if I didn't do SOMETHING!

Even before the show I was very glad I entered Barnstaple, Hex had been cleared by the SMART Clinic to work again and I couldn't wait to have her back in the ring. She did a short training session at Medium height on Friday and one at Large on Saturday to prepare for Sunday. She was so happy to be allowed to play again!

In the exercise area Hex was wearing her 'show clothes' and air scenting for the rings (which were in the next field), she then towed Mum all the way to me! We made some silly mistakes in her first run but she was jumping tight, fast and accurate so I was very happy! In her Agility she had the first pole down but the rest of the run was smooth and faultless, she blasted around the Helter Skelter clear but wide in a couple of places finishing 11th and FLEW around the Collie Jumping, but took her own line 2 jumps from the end. I have my noisy red-head back! I am taking care to stretch and warm her up before runs and just hope that she can take care of herself in the ring!

Stitch won 3 out of his 4 classes and yes, the one we didn't win was the bloomin' agility!!! Argh! To be honest we didn't deserve his first win; it was the 4-7 Jumping and after preaching to my clients all week about telling your dog WHERE a tunnel is before telling them 'tunnel', I proceeded to just shout 'go weave' to Stitch without giving him the faintest idea where they were! Bad handler!
His agility he had the 3rd pole down, he did lovely contacts, but self released 2 of them so I put him back, his next 2 runs were blasty courses which he took full advantage of and throughly enjoyed himself. I had lots of lovely comments about how well we looked together which is great because I am feeling more like a team with him so it's nice to know it shows.

Since sharing my runs on YouTube I have had a couple of blind cross jokes made at my expense. So here it is - 'Hi, my name's Lesley and sometimes, just sometimes I do blind crosses!'. I do not recommend that you take your eyes off your dog, particularly when they are moving at speed, I think Blind Crosses are a LAST resort and should always have a clear, correct pick up (which I am aware I did not give Stitch, I thought he'd be longer in that tunnel!), but having weighed up the options with Stitch and having consulted with his previous handler, it was the only option I had with THAT dog on THAT course. With Hex I could have done a reverse turn/front cross, I had more time (which is how I walked it!), but I fell naturally into a blind cross having already done it with Stitch. It is my opinion that you should arm yourself with as many handling moves as possible so you are prepared for any situation, even if you only use them once in your life and for that reason I teach blind turns to my client's at A-SIT always telling them it is a LAST resort and cringing and instructing them when they do them at inappropriate times or without a correct and clear pick up on the new arm.

Moving on; it was a lovely friendly show with a fun relaxed atmosphere and a feeling of the way shows used to be and for that reason I recommend it... even though for a moment it looked like there would be no toilets, no tannoy and a muddy trek from the cars to the rings, but things (including the weather), sorted themselves out.

Results:

@Barnstaple:
Stitch - 1st, 4-7 Jumping
Stitch - 1st, 1-7 Steeplechase
Stitch - 1st, 1-7 H/Skelter
Hex - 11th, 1-7 H/Skelter
Stu & Ru - 1st, G1-2 Agility, taking them up to Grade 2 at their first KC Show!
Alex & Sonny - Clear, 1-7 H/Skelter

@Golden Valley
Wendy & Ryley - 3rd, G3 Jumping

@SANDS UKA 
Mike & Rio - 1st, Senior Agility
Mike & Rio - 1st, Senior Jumping
Mike & Rio - 2nd, Senior Agility
Michelle & Whistler - Clear, Beginners Steeplechase

Friday, 15 June 2012

Blown Away

Blown away by the wind
Blown away by Stitch
Blown away by the support of friends
Blown away by the results
Consider me well and truly wind swept and gob smacked!

The weekend didn't start all that well; I was a bit dubious about towing the caravan in the high winds but as it was I needn't have worried as we weren't really going fast enough for it to effect us, the 2 and a half hour took 4hrs and after teaching most of the day in the rain I was rather pooped by the time we had unhitched and settled down.

The next morning though I was well rested and so began the Bitz and Bobz show. Stitch gave me a huge shock that day, breaking his wait for the first time with me and then proceeding to ignore every instruction I gave him. There was a party in Ring 2 and I was not invited. Initially I was just embarrassed, but then I was starting to think 'what if he does that in the Final on Sunday in front of everybody and with a commentator commentating his every mistake?!'. As it was he got his act back together in his next run and won it - Panic over.

The next day we had the Final running at the same time as the Chipping Norton show, I had decided I was going to try and run as many of my runs as possible as long as they didn't interfere with the final and I managed to get all 3 of them done and win 2 of them, unfortunately this success did not continue into the Finals ring. Along with most dogs Stitch was lured out of the weaves in the Invitation Jumping, the judge set the same trap in the Agility Final, so I had to decide if I was going to handle it the same as I did in the jumping on weave him on the other side where he would see the jump better, but with me on the other side he would hopefully think we were going another way...WRONG... he still jumped that jump...twice! Argh! In fact with most dogs either missing the entry or coming out the end early, there was only 1 dog that went Clear; A well deserved win from our new friends Anne and Stanley.

video

I was still really pleased with how Stitch and I ran, his contacts were stunning and my nerves only nearly took me the wrong way once! Overall I felt comfortable (not quite confident) and I had fun, which is what it's all about anyway!

Usually I''m at Thames this weekend in the year, a show which I really enjoy (mainly for the evening entertainment!) but I didn't feel I was missing out because the days we had in Chipping Norton more than made up for it. We were surrounded by lots of lovely friendly people and we were very lucky with the weather, it was a great weekend and if I am lucky enough to qualify the DARL Final again next year then I will be there!

Results:
@ Bitz & Bobs
Stitch - 1st, C1-7 Jumping

@Chipping Norton
Stitch - 1st, G1-7 Jumping
Stitch - 1st, C1-7 Jumping

@ Thames
Sarah & Narla - 12th, G1 Agility
Sarah & Ru - 14th, G1 Agility


Thursday, 7 June 2012

Jovial Jubilee Times

I have taken home from Wye Valley a lot of good memories as well as a cluster of rosettes.

I left for the show excited at the Jubilee Celebrations planned at the SWAT Camp but also on a low that Hex was still out of action, I was excited that Voodoo would be able to meet up with his litter mates but low that it would probably be in the pouring rain.

We arrived on Friday at set up in the helpers camping; lovely ringside camping  which would later in the week form SWAT's Jubilee street party. Saturday morning started on a high; I won the 1-7 Jumping which in turn qualified us for the Superstars Final in the evening. Being so close to the rings meant that I didn't see much of the A-SITters to talk to but I did see lots of runs and I was so proud of what I saw, some really confident handling and some really happy dogs which either ended in good results or near misses. I should really carry our Camera on me more often... but I find it hard enough keeping up with my blogs, let alone video editing and publishing!

The Superstars Final was great fun. 20 Obstacles spread out over the space of 2 rings. All I had to do wasgo clear in the first round as it wasn't timed. Stitch was a little bit cheeky and self released his A-Frame, so I put him into a down to tell him I meant business, he ignored this and self released his seesaw, but by the 2nd seesaw he had got the message and by the 2nd A-Frame our contacts were perfect again and so we qualified for the 2nd round. The second round was timed and was going well, until about half way round when I found Stitch barking at me and not taking my direction on to the next jump resulting in a 5R and in turn an elimination as I carried on. Apparently un-beknown to me the commentator had called 'Stitch', 'Sprite'. We have no idea how or why as I don't know the commentator, maybe other forces are at work, who knows? It would be nice to think my boy was in there with us...even if it did cost us the round ; )

After the Final Anthony, Helen and Barbara had offered to cook us dinner, I went over expecting a hot meal and was greeted by a FEAST, a full spread, party atmosphere and a delicious pudding, we sat out under the Gazebo with other members and had a good laugh and a couple of drinks. I must really thank the Bray's for the generosity and hospitality, we all had a good night and went home smiling.

Sunday was not initially such a good day for us, the weather had taken a turn for the worse and I just wasn't in the same place that I was the day before. I didn't think it showed in my handling but Stitch obviously thought it did because he was doubting my instruction, a query in front of a tunnel in the Agility cost us what would have undoubtedly been our win to Champ but it wasn't meant to be and there will be other Agilitys out there for us.

As the day was drawing to an end the question on every SWAT members lips was 'is the party going ahead?', we had all the food ready but the rain wasn't holding back. We decided that as hardy agility folk we WOULD go ahead! The food stayed dry in Vicky's awning and we got wet out on the 'street' which was beautifully decorated. The little SWATlets had their faces painted and we all joined in with party games, until we were eventually left with our wine bottles empty and sitting in puddles of rain water which had gathered in our chairs; big smiles all round and many happy memories.

I got myself back together on Monday with a fast fun 2nd in the Collie Sprint and just a silly mistake in the power and speed. 

Here are the results I know of:

Stitch - 1st, 2nd & 3rd in Various Classes plus a qualifying as a 'Superstar'
Gill & Mollyanna - 1st in the 1-7 Poodle Class & 2 other Clears (Just out of the placings!)
Gill & Kassey - Clear
Sarah & Narla - 3rd 1-7 ABC, 12th 1-7 Power & Speed & a Clear
Sarah & Ru - 2x 10th's and a Clear
Alex & Sonny - Couple of top 10 places (I want to say a 9th and a 6th?) and other Clears